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What is professionalism? It is a specific style of behaviour that is exhibited in the behaviour of the individual. Being professional, refers to your conduct at work.

PSW’s along with all health team members are taught in their courses what it means to be professional and are expected to be so in their workplace and as they carry on their day to day tasks with clients ,families, coworkers ,supervisors and their employers.

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The qualities and characteristics of a professional are as follows:

Being approachable, accountable for your actions, trustworthy, supportive, respectful, competent, considerate, empathetic, courteous, dependable cooperative, and committed to the job.

The NACC guidelines*** clearly points out the attitude abilities and the approach of the worker [PSW] are critical to the wellbeing and health of the people they support.

The PSW must not only provide for the comfort, safety, and wellbeing of their clients but demonstrate sensitivity and respect for those in their care as per NACC guidelines.

Professionalism is strongly influenced by culture .For example, by the way you communicate your image, your competence and your demeanor .It is therefore important that workers learn as much as they can about the client’s culture so that they can respond appropriately.

Being unprofessional is defined as not conforming to the standards of the profession. We cannot take for granted that the students know the expected behaviours but must be taught them throughout the course.
What is expected from a professional? Self respect, acceptance of others, personal responsibility for actions, behaviours,  respect for others, and respect the experience.

Personal items are not to be handled at work such as use of cell phone for personal business. Inappropriate language is to be kept out of the workplace.

Throughout the program, being empathetic, respectful, acting with integrity and being considerate are being taught through DIPPS principles. Dependability, punctuality and group work [team work] are being modelled and  tracted by instructors and later by supervisors/ family members.

Professional behaviour is one of the most important traits expected of the graduates of the program.
If they [PSW’s] are to be respected as a valuable member of the heath team not only in the workplace but in the heath care community as a whole, they must demonstrate the traits of a professional.

• NACC- National Association of Career Colleges Program Manual Guidelines.

Written by: Sue Symonds Registered Nurse [Reg Nurse], Diploma in  LTCSMPSW
Instructor/ PSW Faculty Head


Sue has been in nursing for many years working in hospitals and mostly in Long Term Care as a Staff Nurse, Educator,  Director of Care and Administrator.As an Registered nurse, her passion has been to see that the Residents / clients get quality care based on their needs.  Instrumental in this is helping the staff have the knowledge and skills to  be the best they can be in helping meet the client needs.She has also served on several health care agency advisory committees.Her interests are camping gardening and music.